Throughout the history of the world, from the 1500s many countries across the globe (from Asia, Europe and the United States) have interacted and influenced each other in many ways. In this process, the United States, China and other countries in the Asian continent have played vital roles in this transformation and development. However of most interest is the relations of the United States and China. Considering the country is an economic power house in the region, it is of great interest the status of relations between the United States and China. In this paper I will seek to analyse and look into the different facets involved in the relations between the United States and Asia, focussing on China and the main underlying issues influencing the relations between the United States and Asia.
However, in the past few hundred years, now in the 21st century, Asia is once more regaining its place as the focus of world economics and politics. There have been the emergence of new buzz words that attest to this fact. Words and phrases like “Asia’s re-emergence”, “Asia’s renaissance”, and “China’s rise” have becoming a recurring and common thing in world media.
The United States and Asia have a particularly interesting political history. Between 1949 and 1969, the United States had a lot of vested interest in Asia in the political arena. This is owing to the fact that at the time much of Asia, or at least the central economic and political power in the continent, i.e. China was a communist nation. The United States made several attempts to weaken and destabilize the communist Chinese government. To do this the United States created alliances with China’s surrounding neighbours, Japan, the Nationalist Movement of Taiwan and South Korea. However in between 1970 and 1979, relations between China and the United States took a positive turn when the United States wanted to end the Vietnam War while China needed support to resist the Soviet Union. After this period the governments of the two nations entered a full diplomatic relation. Though there exists unresolved issues based on politics between the US and China they continue to hold diplomacy.
Recently, the actions of North Korea have greatly influenced the political relationship between the United States and Asia. North Korea has openly expressed its intention to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. This has created a huge political stalemate in the region with the United States calling on its allies such as South Korea, Japan and China to reduce or negate all diplomatic relations with North Korea. How this situation develops over the next few months will determine the relations of the Asian region and the United States.
With a majority of the Asian continent being initial communist nations, the factor of Human rights in the regions has been an issue in the past 30 years. This is probably the most contentious issue that has influenced the relationship between China and the United Nations. This is has also been seen most recently between the United States and North Korea.
The American government believes there are several areas which the government of China crosses the boundaries and violates human rights. Areas such as handling of accused criminals, religious groups, dissidents, workers, ethnic minorities and prisoners have been of great interest in the human rights plane, a cause that the American government takes pride in supporting and defending. One of the most discussed is the punishment for a couple who decide to have more than one child. This law was set up to help china curb its exponential population growth rate. This law has been criticized by the West and forms one of the platforms on which the United States struggles with relations in the Asian region.
The American government has seen to measures in the past few years that have been geared to forcing China to change its policies on the issues regarding human rights. Policy instruments employed by the United States have included, threat of trade sanctions, public shaming through reports by NGOs and quiet diplomacy in the intervention of some high profile cases in China.
Economics and Finance
The Chinese economy performed particularly well in the most recent global financial crisis. While many European and American financial institutions and markets succumbed to the pressure of the credit crunch, most economies on Asia, particularly china, held a steady growth pattern. This has led to an interesting development of events in terms of the economic and financial relation of the United States and Asia.
The Chinese economy prides itself in the mass production and distribution of its commodities. The country’s economy is able to mass produce goods on all levels of quality exporting them to all regions of the world. This is seen in the fact that most goods that people around the world use have the “Made in China” tag.
Another factor is the country’s embrace of technology. China is one of the leading producers of cutting edge technology in the world, from smart phones to computers and automobiles, China is the biggest producer and supplier of technology. This has greatly boosted the country’s ability to withstand the shock waves of a global economic downturn.
This led to most companies in the United States being bought out by Chinese corporations in the recent economic down turn. This in essence has led to The United States being indebted to China, while China has no debt. Most economics and finance pundits predict that at the rate of growth of the Chinese economy, China will overtake the United States as the world’s leading economic powerhouse by the year 2035.
Regional and Global Impact
The regional and global implication of Asia-U.S. relations cannot be understated. Recently, the political climate in Asia has been plagued by a huge cloud of doubt. The current state of relations between North Korea and the United States has led to the region being divided according to their allies. This threatens the very economic and social stability of the region.
The United states particularly relies on China for supply of some products in given markets, the rest of the world, such as Africa and South America, have received considerable investments from the Asian region, precisely China. Should the Asia-U.S. relations fail to uphold, the global economic impact and effect will be on a massive scale. This makes Asia-U.S. relations critical for the success of the world’s economy not withstanding peace.
In conclusion, the relations between Asia and the United States has seen its fair share of ups and downs, at one point in time even almost resulted in war. However, it is paramount importance that the emerging Asian powers, China and the United States create a unified front that would lead the whole world into the next era and through the information age. There is need for the development of the spirit of cooperation within the region as there is great need for the belief that china can indeed rise to economic and political heights while the United States maintains it power without feeling threatened. There is also need to realize the goal of all Asian countries integrated to each other and also to the United States.
There is a new and emerging context for the Asia-U.S. relations that has to be readily accepted across the board. The idea of an American decline in global power forces a spectrum of choices for the American government. The choice for the acceptance of a multi-popular world or facing isolationism is one that the U.S. has to come to terms with. There is still a lot to be done by leaders on both sides of the platform.
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